Moderna has downgraded the sales forecasts for its Covid-19 vaccine this year, blaming delays in international shipping and temporary issues related to manufacturing capacity.
The US biotech said on Thursday it expects product sales of $15bn to $18bn in 2021, down from an earlier estimate of $20bn in August. The company now expects to deliver 700m to 800m doses this year, compared to earlier estimates of between 800m to 1bn.
Moderna shares fell as much as 11 per cent in premarket trading after the disappointing guidance. Consensus estimates from analysts had forecast full-year sales of $19.8bn.
“Key variables impacting output include longer delivery lead times for international shipments and exports that may shift deliveries to early 2022, temporary impact from expansion of fill/finish capacity and ramp up of product release to market,” Moderna said in a statement.
The company said it would have fewer doses for delivery in 2021 than it had initially expected and had shifted some of these orders to delivery dates in 2022. A move to prioritise vaccine supplies to low-income countries through Covax — a global initiative aimed at equitable access to Covid-19 vaccines — and the African Union would also impact 2021 revenues, it said, since prices are lower for those sales.
Stéphane Bancel, Moderna chief executive, said he was humbled to see the roll out of the company’s vaccine around the world but acknowledged the company had more to do.
“We will not rest until our vaccine is available to anyone who needs it, and we are working hard to ensure our vaccine is available in low-income countries with approximately 10 per cent of our 2021 volume and significantly more of our 2022 volume going to low-income countries,” he said.
Bancel had warned in August that the drugmaker’s manufacturing capacity was “totally maxed out” for 2021 due to surging demand for its Covid-19 vaccine and it had stopped taking new orders.
Moderna’s delivery challenges stand in contrast to rival Pfizer, which this week lifted its 2021 sales forecast to $36bn, up from $33.5bn.